Showing posts with label Rabbis Write Letters to Coerce Gittin and Make Mamzerim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rabbis Write Letters to Coerce Gittin and Make Mamzerim. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rabbis Write Letters to Coerce Gittin and Make Mamzerim

In recent posts on our blog we showed clearly that Rabbi Breitowitz and Rabbi Heineman and Rabbi Kaminetsky are actively encouraging people to marry with invalid Gittin or no GET. In each of these posts we protested this and showed the Torah sources that such activity produces mamzerim and invalid Gittin. Here we want to deal with the source of the problem, rabbis who have no serious training from senior rabbis how to pasken shaalose and just let go with their imaginations and inventions. This today is very common. I once had a fight with a large group of rabbis about just such a problem, and I am convinced that none of the rabbis I spoke to know the laws of Gittin, despite the fact that they encourage coercions of the husband and feel that whatever crosses their mind is “daas Torah.”

I spoke with a senior dayan who was sure that pressuring the husband was the right thing to do. I showed him the Shulchan Aruch in Even Hoezer 77 paragraphs 2 and 3, where the Shulchan Aruch, the Ramo, the Chelkas Mechokake, the Bais Shmuel and the Gro all say that coercions based upon the demand of the wife to be rid of her husband is forbidden. The Gro says that nobody [in Shulchan Aruch generations] disagrees. The senior dayan had no response, and muttered, “I am not familiar with that.” Yes, some rabbis disagree with the Shulchan Aruch. “They are not familiar” with it.  What is there source? I ask and have been asking this for years with no response.

There is, I feel, a basic misunderstanding about the extreme sensitivity of tampering with the bonds of marriage. Here are some sources from the major authorities. The first is from the Gaon Reb Yosef ben Leb whose Teshuvose are quoted extensively by the Beis Yosef. (See Shem HaGedolim on Reb Yosef ben Leb, and see also Shem HaGedolim on Reb Yosef Karo, that quotes Koray HaDoros that Reb Yosef ben Lev was the rebbe of the Beis Yosef, but the Shem HaGedolim disputes this.) Nonetheless, Reb Yosef ben Leb was a  major posek in the time of the Beis Yosef and is quoted by him extensively. Now let us turn to Reb Yosef ben Leb and his comments on the severity of severing the marital bonds of a Jewish woman.

In his teshuvo sefer Teshuvose Mahari ben Leb, Shaalose IV:19:3 We find, “When dealing with the sin of a married woman remarrying [such as whether a GET is kosher or whether her husband is dead] we are stringent and do not permit her to remarry even if most rabbis permit it.” We see that so serious is the sin of a married woman remarrying that even if most rabbis permit something, and although we usually follow the majority, we are stringent and refuse the woman the right to remarry.

Now, I do not say that this is true in every single case dealing with a married woman and her GET or her husband’s disappearance. I am simply pointing out how terrible a thing it is for a married woman to remarry without a clear permission from the authorities. Although the Torah recognizes the capacity of the ROV or larger group against the smaller group, if the smaller group may be right, we fear to allow a woman to remarry.

Let us talk about the hideous sin of the Kaminetskys in Philadelphia. A married woman, with no GET at all,  has permission from Rabbi Shalom Kaminetsky to remarry without a GET. Surely he asked his father Reb Shmuel and got his permission. And perhaps some rabbi here or there permitted this, as there are some rabbis who say things that nobody heard of, because they want to help ladies. What would the Gaon Reb Yosef ben Leb say about this? He just said that the style of the great rabbis of Israel is to deny the woman the right to remarry even if the majority of the rabbis consider her GET kosher or her husband to be dead. We so fear the sin of a married woman remarrying without a Kosher GET or without a dead husband, that we violate the major rule to follow the majority. But here the Kaminetskys defy the opinion of all of the rabbis in the world who have expressed their shock at the permission of a married woman to remarry, and have stated that the child born after her remarriage will be a mamzer. Here, we find the majority forbidding her to remarry, and some rabbi who nobody knows his name has permitted it and the Kaminetskys are permitting the woman to remarry because of this one idiot or maybe two idiots. This is incredible.

But let us look into this a bit more. Can we violate a majority opinion just because it is a marriage question?

Let us turn to the Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 17:102:  The Shulchan Aruch there deals with the question of a man who fell into the ocean or some body of water whereby people could not see its boundaries from where they were standing. They tried to find him and spent time waiting for some word from him, or the sight of his body, but failed. Can the wife remarry? The Shulchan Aruch says that she may not remarry, and if she remarried, she must get a divorce from her second husband. Obviously, we fear the minority when it comes to a married woman.

Most people who sink into the ocean and are not seen afterwards are dead. But some, as the Talmud quotes, manage somehow to reach dry land. If so, the majority would say that such people are dead. But a minority, only a small minority, survive. Therefore, the woman, who is a real Agunah, may not remarry because of the small possibility that her husband somehow reached dry land. And if she does remarry, she must get a divorce from the second husband.

See also Tosfose Kesubusoe 2a d”h שאם היה לו.  At the end of the Tosfose he says that if a husband has a doubt if he is allowed to be with his wife, and according to the general rules in that case we could find a leniency and permit him to be with her, there is an exception. That is, if the sin the husband would do with his wife is only a one time sin, such as the sin of eating something not kosher, in such a case we could be lenient. But if the question is not about a one time sin, but a sin that would be forever, such as whether the wife is permitted at all to him, even if it is not a serious sin such as being with another person’s wife, the rabbis forbade it lest it lead to a permanent sin. According to this, even if the general rules would permit a woman to remarry based on this or that, but if the sin is possible and it would be forever, in such a case it is quite possible that the rabbis forbade the lenience.

If so, surely in a case where the question is remarrying a married woman, we must be stringent. Even if most rabbis permit the marriage, but a few do not, we do not permit the marriage. Thus, what Reb Yosef ben Leib says is the custom of the great rabbis not to permit a woman to remarry if even a minority of rabbis forbid it, has a  source in the above Tosfose.We can add to this the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam in his famous teshuva forbidding coerced Gittin. He says, at the conclusion of his remarks, that “It is preferable for a woman to die an Agunah rather than to marry and bring laz or gossip upon her children.” Note that he does not say that a woman should die rather than remarry without a GET. That is surely forbidden. But he says that a woman who has a right to remarry, perhaps a rabbi permits her, but she knows that people will talk about it, and consider her a sinner and her children maybe a mamzer, she should rather die an Agunah than to remarry. But today rabbis exist who feel that even remarriage without a GET is permissible so that a woman not remain unmarried. A rabbi who defies the Shulchan Aruch and Rabbeinu Tam is a great sinner.

Surely these rabbis want to help ladies to remarry. But what about the children? When the vast majority of rabbis consider the remarriage forbidden, are the children born from it not mamzerim? And if some rabbis permit it and some rabbis forbid it, is the child born from this not a doubtful mamzer? And a doubtful mamzer may not marry a mamzeress, and may not marry a regular Jewish girl.  What, therefore, is accomplished by these idealistic rabbis lacking in the basic tools of paskening?

Paskening a shaalo requires shimush. And this is especially true when paskening about marriage laws. I talked frequently to Gedolim Reb Aharon Kotler and Reb Moshe Feinstein. When I went to Posek Hador Reb Yosef Shalom Elyashev and asked for his name for my Gittin Beth Din, he immediately granted it. One of the things he told me then was that any Beth Din that flouts the Shulchan Aruch is not recognized as a Beth Din. Recently, gedolim in Israel have ruled that a Beth Din that violates the Shulchan Aruch to coerce a GET makes invalid Gittin, and the woman who receives a GET from such a Beth Din must get another GET. The first one is not recognized.

In the next few years, many children will be born from mothers “helped” by certain rabbis. And woe to those children.

Despite all of this, one who has a child born from such strange Gittin should check about the child from somebody familiar with the laws of Gittin and mamzeruth.

Children born from “funny” Gittin will not laugh. They will cry. The above rabbis  will split the Jewish world. Beware of marrying anyone who was divorced by them. That is how bad it is.